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Piedmont, region, Italy
Piedmont (pēdˈmŏnt), Ital. Piemonte, region (1991 pop. 4,302,565), 9,807 sq mi (25,400 sq km), NW Italy, bordering on France in the west and on Switzerland in the north. Turin is the capital of the region, which is one of the richest in Italy. Piedmont is divided into the provinces of Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara, Turin, and Vercelli (named for their capitals). The mostly mountainous and hilly region has the Alps in the north and west and the Apennines in the south.
In the more elevated parts of Piedmont, forest products and fruit are produced and cattle are raised. In the fertile valley of the upper Po River wheat, corn, rice, grapes, honey, and chestnuts are grown. Piedmont has considerable industry, powered in part by well-developed hydroelectric facilities and aided by an extensive transportation network. Manufactures include motor vehicles (mainly at Turin), textiles, leather goods, aluminum, chemicals, glass, wine, and office machines. There is a substantial tourist industry, notably at Lago Maggiore in the northeast, and skiing is a popular activity. There is a university at Turin.
The area of Piedmont was incorporated by Rome in the 1st cent. B.C. It came to be known as Piedmont by the 13th cent., growing out of Turin and Ivrea, western marches of the Lombard kingdom of Italy. Created in the 10th cent., the marches passed by marriage (11th cent.) to the Savoy dynasty (see Savoy, house of). In the 12th cent. free communes were instituted in many cities, while others remained under feudal lords. Besides the counts (later dukes) of Savoy, the marquises of Saluzzo and Montferrat were powerful nobles. By the 15th cent. Savoy emerged as the chief power.
The French often entered Piedmont via the strategic Mont Cenis and Montgenèvre passes through the Alps, either as allies or as enemies; they greatly influenced Piedmontese history and culture. Moreover, Piedmont was a major battlefield in the Italian Wars (15th–16th cent.), the wars of Louis XIV, and the French Revolutionary Wars. The dukes of Savoy, who in 1720 became kings of Sardinia, had acquired all of present-day Piedmont by 1748. From 1798 to 1814, Piedmont was held by France. After 1814, the region became the nucleus of Italian unification during the Risorgimento, and Turin was the first capital (1861–64) of the new Italian kingdom. Valle d'Aosta was part of Piedmont until 1945.
Piedmont, city, United States
piedmont, physiographic region
an eastern foothill plain of the Appalachian Mountains in the United States. The Piedmont has widths from 50 to 200 km and is composed of crystalline and metamorphic rocks. The surface is somewhat hilly and is inclined to the southeast (elevations from 40-80 to 400 m), where it drops sharply to the Atlantic lowland. Monadnocks reach 500-700 m in elevation. The rivers crossing the eastern edge of the Piedmont form a series of rapids and waterfalls (the Fall Line), some of which are used for electrical energy. There are mixed forests in some parts of the region.
(Italian, Piemonte), a region in northwestern Italy, comprising the provinces of Torino, Vercelli, Cuneo, Alessandria, Novara, and Asti. Area, 25,400 sq km. Population, 4.4 million (1971). The regional capital and main economic center is Turin.
Almost three-fourths of Piedmont is covered by mountains and hills. In the north and west lie the Pennine (Mount Rosa, 4,634 m), Graian, Cottian, and Maritime Alps. The region is drained by the Po and its tributaries. In the mountains grow broad-leaved and coniferous forests, covering 26 percent of the region’s area. The Piedmont Plain occupies the central part of the region.
One of Italy’s economically most highly developed regions, Piedmont is notable for its concentration of industry and centralization of capital. Industry is dominated by the major Italian monopolies: Fiat, Pirelli, Montedison, and Olivetti. The region employs 15 percent of the country’s workers engaged in manufacturing (1971). The leading industry is machine building, chiefly the manufacture of motor vehicles (Fiat plants in Turin), tractors, aircraft, motors, and electrical equipment. Other important products include ball bearings and typewriters. The traditional branches produce textile machinery, equipment for the food and paper industries, farm machinery, precision instruments, and armaments. Piedmont leads the country in the production of wool cloth, artificial fibers, and cement. The region also has electrometallurgical, petroleum-refining, chemical, pharmaceutical, rubber, food, paper, and printing enterprises. Piedmont produces 10 percent of Italy’s total electric power output. There are hydroelectric power plants in the Alps, steam power plants in the large cities, and a nuclear power plant in the town of Trino-Vercellise. The chief industrial centers are Turin, Novara, Vercelli, Alessandria, Cuneo, Biella, and Ivrea.
Some 53 percent of Piedmont’s 1.5 million ha of cultivated land is occupied by plowed land, 39 percent by meadows and pastures, and 8 percent by orchards and vineyards. Piedmont is Italy’s leading producer of rice, of which about 5 million centners were harvested in 1971. Other crops include wheat, corn, fodder crops, and potatoes. Cattle raising is also important (about 1.2 million head).
T. A. GALKINA
Historical survey. The name “Piedmont” first appeared in the 13th century. The region was divided into numerous feudal holdings until the 15th century, when it became part of the Duchy of Savoy. Piedmont and Savoy thereafter constituted a single state. In 1720, Piedmont became the basis of the Kingdom of Sardinia, with Turin as its capital. From 1802 to 1814 it was part of France. In the 1820’s, 1830’s, and 1840’s, it was one of Italy’s most prosperous regions. Piedmont’s bourgeoisie and the nobility that had become bourgeois played a major role in the 19th-century Italian national liberation movement, leading the bourgeois Piedmont Revolution of 1821 and taking an active part in the Revolution of 1848–49 in Italy. The Kingdom of Sardinia (actually Piedmont) was the core around which Italy became unified in 1859–60.
During World War II, Piedmont was occupied by German fascist troops in September 1943. It became a major center of the resistance, whose forces were largely responsible for the region’s liberation in April 1945. The region’s high concentration of industry and its large working class, chiefly in Turin, have made Piedmont one of the main centers of the Italian workers’ and democratic movement.